Monday, June 30, 2008


I made a couple of mail order purchases recently and because of one thing or another, I needed to visit the post office to send them on; either on to a different address or back for a refund.

The item I was sending on was to a friend of mine who worked with me at Jeep Truck Engineering (JTE). Her daughter just turned a year old and I missed the party. I purchased a cute pajama set on-line but couldn’t find anywhere on the site to update the “Ship to” address. So, after I finished up my order, I called the website ( and updated the address. A few days later I received an email from someone in Customer Service saying the following:

“Unfortunately, we were unable to change the shipping address for your order and this has been dispatched to your address in Romeo.

I apologize for our error and confirm that we will reimburse you for the postage costs for re-directing the order to “your friends” address in Detroit.

I would be grateful if you could e-mail me a confirmation of the postage cost and I will then refund this to your credit card.”

How nice!

The item I was returning was a book on Road Rallies. Jerome and I are currently organizing a road rally for our MINI club and would have really liked some new ideas to help us out in the planning. I looked on and found one for road rallies (The Road Rally Handbook: The Complete Guide to Competing in Time-Speed-Distance) – looked like it would be a good resource, so I bought it. When it arrived, Jerome and I opened it up and realized that the road rally that this book was referring to was the racing road rallies that usually happen on back roads (usually dirt – Natural Beauty Roads) up north. It was about calibrating and modding your car so that it could go faster, etc. Not quite the same.

On Saturday, on my way out to do several chores, I stopped at the Romeo Post Office to send these packages out. For the clothing item, I needed to purchase an envelope from the post office. Not a problem, I was expecting to do so. Other than the Priority Mail envelopes, the only other envelopes they provided at that location were the decorative envelopes with a bold design all over them. If you purchased one of these, you were then (sort of) forced into also buying a label (extra 0.49); since there would be no way that you could legibly write an address on this envelope.

OK, I did that – then with the next package, I needed to also purchase a label (another 0.49), since they do not provide anything like that. I also needed to tape the box up. I had left it open for a reason; so they could see the contents. When I asked where the tape was so that I could tape this up – the clerk told me that I would need to purchase the tape (extra 3.29). She then told me that most people come to the Post Office prepared. I was getting annoyed. I tried not to let it show too much, but I’m not really good at hiding. As she was tallying up my order – which also included a book of stamps and delivery confirmation – I was trying to form my question. “Could I donate the rest of this tape?” She said no, take it home, I’m sure you will use it. I said “I’m sure I would use it to, but I find it very inconvenient that there is no tape available here for those that are not prepared”. She told me that I could not do that because then the public would assume that the Post Office provides these things.

hummm...go figure.

She handed me my receipt and quickly left the area. There were no other customers.

Well, writing it all down really takes the fire out of it. Seems trivial. It wasn’t at the time. By the way, my total that day at the Post Office was $21.13. Crazy.

The nice thing is that Boden USA (which is located in the U.K.), refunded the cost of the postage, the envelope and the label AND gave me a $10 credit voucher that has no expiry date. I think they made a return customer out of me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

mommy's little helpers...

(he is so photogenic!)

(she always looks annoyed)

iris trimming...

Spent the evening doing yard work; cutting the lawn and trimming some stuff.

I cut down the iris stalks along the driveway and counted how many bearded irises I was lucky enough to have this year: 60!

60 stalks which have up to three flowers on each – best case scenario is that I had 180 flowers! That’s the best showing of the bearded irises here at this house so far. This does not include the Siberian irises or any of the bearded irises that are in the back boulder (upper) garden.

I have to commend the weather for this. The temperatures have been very cool in comparison to the last few years with hardly any heavy humidity. I guess with the high gas prices (avg. price today $4.07/gal), people aren’t driving as much which has led to lower carbon emissions and thus slowed Global Warming…YAY!

Save the Polar Bears!

Friday, June 20, 2008

he's ba-ack....

Dad was released from the hospital yesterday. He comes delivered from the hospital in an ambulance. Mom said they were to arrive around 5ish. She told me this at 5:25pm and said that well, 5ish is past now. I corrected her and told her that 5ish ends at 6pm.

Jerome and I were driving to Mom and Dads after work. We were on 19 mile road when we saw an ambulance. I said, I’ll bet that’s dad. Construction is CRAZY on Romeo Plank going towards their house, so we were driving about 1 mph with the ambulance in front of us. And turns out, I was right; it was my dad and it was 6pm :)

The EMS workers brought him in and put him in his bed. I served him his dinner and afterward he wanted some wine in his sippy-cup and water in another cup “with a straw that is 180 degrees from the handle”! WOW – how specific! I laughed, but he has a method to his madness – If the straw is opposite the handle, he can bring the cup around, stick it sort of in his armpit and the straw ends up near his mouth – this way he doesn’t spill his beverage. Ah-ha!...but to me it just sounded funny.

Monday, June 16, 2008

only a little more to go...

Only one more coat of yellow and then a coat (or two) of the applesauce cake - some touching up and the room is done!!!

By the way, this treatment is only on one wall - otherwise I think it would be too overwhelming.

my eternal battle…

I started another round of Weight Watcher’s today. Actually, I started it last week, but today was the first weigh-in. I’m hoping to have enough motivation this time to stick with it.

Between February and May of last year, I had lost 20 lbs. Between August and November of last year, I gained it back.

I needed to lose more than the 20 lbs. last year, but now I’m back to square one.

I thought that with the added activity that comes with spring and summer, I would have lost some by now, but it’s clear that I really have to count the points in order to really lose anything.

It’s a struggle, it’s depressing and I’m frustrated with myself – but I’m not going to quit quitting. Yes, I feel like this is my “smoking” habit. I’ve never smoked, but I think that trying to lose weight is a lot like trying to kick the habit of smoking. There is just something in your head constantly talking you into eating a little more.

At my heaviest I was 225 lbs. I was also only 21 years old at the time and pregnant. After having Justin, I immediately lost 27 lbs., but stayed at 198 for 3 years. I then lost the rest of the weight in 1990 from divorce-related stress. I went down to what seemed to most to be an unhealthy 124 lbs. Personally, I thought I looked good, but others said I needed to put some weight on. (Hummm…I’m just reading that according to Weight Watchers, 124 lbs. is the minimum healthy weight for my height). I took their advice and put on some weight, but stayed around 140 lbs. for many years (fluctuating up and down about 10 lbs.).

I started having to watch my weight again in 2002 – I had gotten engaged and was up to 174 lbs. I wanted to have nice wedding pictures, so, I went on the Weight Watcher program. I got down to 147 lbs. with following the flex program and going to Curves. It took nearly a year.

I would like to be there again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Friday my dad was taken to the hospital. He was feeling weak and he had a fever. When my dad wants to go back to bed almost as soon as he wakes up, you know something is wrong.

Mom and Marty took him to the ER and he was admitted by around 3AM on Saturday morning.

They say he has pneumonia.

Jerome and I went to go visit him on Saturday. While we were there, Dr. LooseTie (that's the way I heard him say it...), a neurologist said that he also has a urinary infection. He thinks that maybe it's an exacerbation of the MS, but they can't give him steroids until the other issues are gone. He may be in the hospital for 4 or 5 days.

We'll be visiting him later today and bringing him his Father's Day present.

this is what it looks like so far...

Friday night, Jerome and I spent most of our time measuring for the squares. I wanted to at least get the green color on one of the squares that night.

By the end of the day today, I plan to have all the green totally done - 2 coats.

Then it's on to yellow.

Like I said, mine is a little darker than the sample.

3 years!...

Happy Anniversary! Our third year in the house!

Here's a picture of our house in the Village of Romeo during this past Spring.

It's a 1949 Colonial Revival - very young house in comparison to what else resides here in the Village.

We moved in June of 2005 and since we've been here we've done mostly cosmetic work on it; removing old carpet, wallpaper, etc. and sanding floors and repainting walls. Our Spring project (which will likely take all spring, summer and autumn long) was to be to continue working on the windows. Free them from where they had been painted in place, stripping off the paint, sanding, removing the glazing and replacing it with molding and finally repainting.

What we've also done:
Removed carpet and wallpaper in basement and up the staircase – painted and re-carpeted
Removed wallpaper in kitchen – painted and replaced hardware
Replaced chimney damper and sweep – repaired top of chimney and added a sill
We had water coming in from three places in the basement: the coal chute, one of the window wells and the cellar. Removed and bricked up the coal chute. Built up the surround for the window well and dug all the way down to the bottom of the porch/cellar and tarred. Rebuilt (bricked) porch.
Stripped and re-sodded the “upper” garden
Replaced the gutters and added two collection boxes (for esthetics)
Repainted almost every room and decorated (still working on…)
Changed out all switches and outlets to rocker rather than toggle – fixed some mixed up electric lines
Repaired front entry door and replaced side lights and added threshold
Installed storm door
Sanded, filled, stained and poly’d the hardwood floors in dining room, living room and one of the bedrooms
Changed out the doorknobs
Replaced the utility tub and tiled the laundry closet
Replaced the vanity in the ½ bath
Built shelves in “coal room” for storage and under the stairs
Replaced AC condenser with Carrier Energy Star & installed humidifier
We have energy leaks all over the house: Replaced basement windows, installed sill at back door. Still need to build new storm windows
Painted all the outdoor lighting, doors, trim, shutters

Still would like to:
Finish the mantel area in the living room (finished March 2, 2009)
Rebuild the garage (finished October 2009 - well, we still have some things to do but the garage is rebuilt and usable)
Rebuild the pond in the “upper” garden with the addition of a waterfall
Remodel the master bathroom
Remodel the kitchen

As far as stories about this house. We were told recently that the Mayor of Romeo used to live in it - but we don't have any evidence to prove that out. Also the owners before the previous owners were a little on the shady side. He owned some sort of toxic waste dump somewhere and had some enemies, it seems. There is a bullet hole in our front door from a "drive-by" that happened while this man lived in the house. He also had the whole house and garage rigged up with security alarms and there is a camera (with an indoor monitor) on the back of the house that points to the garage. Apparently, he owned some kind of foreign sports car and he wanted to keep an eye on it. I can't remember if it was a Ferrari or a Lamborghini.

I would like to do the whole background history of the house and eventually get one of those Historic Plaques. I think that would be pretty cool.

Friday, June 13, 2008

just starting...

We are getting the house ready for a visit from Jerome's family. Well anyway, his sister and youngest brother and their families.

There will be 4 adults and 4 kids. We've not had this many visit at one time in this house.

Let's be honest, we're always working on the house in some fashion - his family's visit is just an excuse for the work that we're doing now.

I'm painting the back guest bedroom. I chose a color that I felt was as neutral as I would want to go. It's called "applesauce cake". It's a nice color, but I think that other people would have probably gone for the lighter color on the color card.

One of the guys at work showed me a picture from a website that had a paint treatment that was done to a bedroom of a model home (see picture below). I thought it was nice and since I had done stripes on our master bedroom walls, I figured I could do this too. I have some darker colors (of course), but I think it will look very similar.

I am planning on marking the walls this weekend and maybe start painting one of the colors.